A Guide to Latex Editors for Academic Researchers
Table of Contents
What is LaTex?
LaTeX (pronounced Lay-tek) is a markup-level text editing tool that separates the process of word formatting from the task of content entry. LaTeX, which is quite comparable to HTML in terms of formatting, is one of the most widely used text editors in academia. For those who work with scientific papers and publishing, particularly those who work with a lot of mathematical equations, LaTeX text editors are pretty much the industry standard.
LaTeX is a free software package developed in 1985 as an extension to the TeX typesetting system by American computer scientist Leslie Lamport. LaTeX was designed to make it easier for TeX users to create general-purpose books and articles. Since LaTeX is an extension to the TeX typesetting system, it inherits TeX’s ability to typeset complex mathematical equations. This feature helped to establish LaTeX’s popularity among scientists and engineers.
The process of creating a LaTeX manuscript begins with a text file containing content that has been tagged with special LaTeX codes that specify how the text will be styled. When a LaTeX processor is used to process the file, typeset pages are generated. Due to the fact that LaTeX typesetting involves wrapping text in complex computer rules (markup code), it has a relatively steep learning curve. Although there are presently software programs that assist in automating the creation of LaTeX documents, this type of typesetting still requires a working knowledge of LaTeX.
LaTeX was among the first typesetting programs to support the generation of complex mathematical equations. It has been used to typeset numerous science, mathematics, and engineering journals and publications over the years. The American Mathematical Society (AMS) even has its own set of extensions, renamed AMS-LaTeX, which contributors use to create articles for its journal. Today, it is also used in fields such as physics, engineering, computer science, linguistics, and economics.
Why you Should Learn to Use LaTex for Manuscript Preparation
LaTex is a markup language that is specifically designed for the needs of academic, technical and scientific texts. The LaTex markup language enables you to create complex mathematical formulas, constants, and symbols in your document. It also allows you to control the layout of your text with very high precision, as opposed to used conventional word processors such as Microsoft Word. This comes in handy when adjusting the format of your paper according to the journal’s style guide.
If you are not familiar with LaTex or have little experience with it, it might be difficult to get started on your own without any help from someone who has already mastered it. This is where LaTex Format Templates come in handy! They provide a pre-made structure for the content so that all you have to do is fill in the blanks. The templates will also give you access to professional-quality graphics for use in your documents.
LaTex can help in preparing your manuscript’s format according to a predefined journal style guide. The journal would commonly have a readily available LaTex template which you can use to add your content to. Using a template would be easier than writing up the LaTex markup from scratch. The advantages of LaTeX are that it can be edited with any text editor and there are no glitches caused by problems with different graphics cards setup or different printers setting.
How do LaTex Documents Work?
LaTeX is a document preparation system. It is the most widely used one, especially in the field of computer science, engineering and mathematical publications. It uses a free-form language for writing mathematical formulas. The LaTeX compiler then generates other formats like PDF or PS from the original markup language. LaTeX was designed to resemble American Typewriter fonts, but it does not have any other dependencies on the computer system used to view it.
Best LaTex Editor Software for Researchers
LaTeX packages provide a great way to make your writing more attractive and fancy. They enable you to produce high-quality graphics, equations, and tables without having to go through the hassle of learning how to use a tool like Inkscape or Illustrator. Packages offer a means for editing LaTex documents and the more advanced ones come in different price ranges.
Each LaTeX program has its own features that make it better for one task or another. If you are looking for a good LaTex Editor software package, there are several popular ones available for researchers. Five of the prominent and widely-used editors are presented hereafter.
If you enjoy working with open-source software, TeXmaker is a popular open-source, cross-platform solution for LaTeX editing. This application is available on all major platforms and has a number of features that make it a compelling alternative to any LaTeX text editor. To get started using TeXmaker, its configuration window enables users to configure all of the document’s essential settings before beginning work on it.
Additionally, TeXmaker’s ‘Quick start’ box enables users to configure spell-checking and other document layout parameters. The ‘Structure View’ feature enables users to segment their documents into distinct sections, identifying each one as they go. Inserting tables, mathematical formulas, cross-references, and images is rather simple with TeXmaker.
After establishing the foundation for your document’s layout with TeXmaker, the document can be compiled to obtain it in the PDF, HTML, or ODF file format. Another critical element of TeXmaker is the way it enables users to trace compilation problems.
All warnings and faults are provided to allow the user to take appropriate action. TeXmaker enables you to effortlessly fold/unfold sections/parts of your papers. Additionally, this tool is excellent for structuring the Bibliography portion of your manuscript. TeXmaker has a plethora of keyboard shortcuts, which makes the whole experience with this program rather beneficial. TeXmaker is, in general, one of the best LaTeX editors available for Linux, Mac, and Windows.
Some of the benefits of using TeXmaker:
- Simple to operate and adjust.
The code can be collapsed (code folding).
Compile the code effortlessly.
There are almost 370 mathematical symbols available.
It has a wizard for quickly creating a document.
This Mac LaTeX editor software can find warnings and problems automatically.
You can perform a text search within a folder and its subfolders.
Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux are all supported operating systems.
LyX is one of the most popular LaTeX editors available today, thanks to its support for a variety of modern and innovative features. It is an open-source editor that runs on a variety of operating systems, including Windows, macOS, and Linux. It stresses the WYSIWYM writing style and features a straightforward graphical user interface. The program creates LateX documents effortlessly by utilizing numerous configurable capabilities such as an integrated equation editor and reference indexing.
While many choose LyX for mathematical documents, you may also use its extensive markup features to construct a structured novel or script. Additionally, you get support for referencing academic articles, link overlay, and the ability to compose a master thesis utilizing branched out nodes.
Additionally, you can author scientific articles complete with references and citations. Automatic index construction is a one-of-a-kind function available only in LyX. With its sophisticated mathematical tools, you may visually drag and drop equations and alter them directly on the screen.
Additionally, you get access to a large number of methods, theorems, and equation arrays. Having said that, what I enjoy most about it is how simple it is to write LaTeX documents without having to worry about formatting or design attributes. Simply said, if you are new to LaTeX word processing and wish to generate scientific documents, choose LyX. It is an excellent LaTeX editor that runs on Ubuntu, Windows, and Mac.
Some of the benefits of using LyX
- It supports tables and floating point numbers well.
- The document can be exported as a PDF.
- This LaTeX editor for Windows includes functionality for tables and captions.
- You are capable of writing documents in multiple languages.
- It provides text completion automatically.
- You can compare the document’s multiple versions.
- This application enables you to keep track of changes.
- The same ease is available on Windows, Mac, and Linux.
The Overleaf LaTex editor is a web-based LaTex exporter for Microsoft Word documents that is available for free. Additionally, Overleaf includes an undo/redo feature that enables you to alter a previously printed page. This is an excellent option if you wish to edit multiple papers concurrently (for example, numerous documents on a single subject).
Additionally, if you need to make tiny modifications to a document, such as placing a space between words, you will be able to do it immediately – no need to save and waste time searching for the relevant keystroke.
Some of the benefits of using Overleaf
- Overleaf offers a wide range of templates.
- It makes writing, editing, and publishing documents quicker.
- This application offers a real-time preview of code.
- Share with other people effortlessly.
- You can switch to LaTeX and Rich Text mode.
- Find LaTeX error in less time.
- You can track changes and comments in real-time.
TeXstudio is another prominent open-source and cross-platform LaTeX editor in academics. This tool is built on the previously discussed open-source TeXmaker. TeXstudio is essentially an expansion of the previously stated program, adding additional functionality and capabilities.
While the UI is very similar to TeXmaker, extra functions such as Document Word count, frequency count analysis, and more have turned it into a stand-alone full-featured LaTeX editing tool.
Among its notable features are syntax highlighting, reference checking, multi-cursor support, and over 1000 mathematical formulas. Citations are a significant component of scientific writings, and TeXstudio’s support for Link overlay assists significantly in this. TeXstudio’s Assistant feature enables anyone without extensive understanding of LaTeX editors to easily build up a file and insert blocks of pictures or tables wherever in the page.
Drag and drop images into this editor, and the Table Auto-formatter takes care of properly formatting your newly produced tables. These are the additional capabilities available in TeXstudio, in addition to the standard Structure viewing, Code folding, Spell checking, Auto-corrections, Syntax highlighting, and all other TeXmaker features.
Some of the benefits of using TeXstudio
- This tool has almost a thousand mathematical symbols.
- You can use bookmarks to keep track of key passages in your work.
- When you press control and click, references and filenames are turned to links.
- With a single mouse click, you may copy, paste, and insert table columns.
- It enables drag-and-drop picture loading into the editor.
TeXnicCenter is another excellent LaTeX editor that was designed exclusively for the Windows operating system. TeXnicCenter operates on Windows and takes use of Microsoft’s MiKTeX typesetting package, which simplifies the processing of LaTeX texts in Microsoft Word. Additionally, TeXnicCenter is a free and open-source LaTeX editor, which is wonderful. In terms of features, it includes practically everything you might desire in a LaTeX editor.
You have a robust graphical user interface editor with auto-completion and support for hundreds of UTF-8 character encodings. Additionally, TeXnicCenter uses a master-branch navigator to assist users in navigating LaTeX documents.
TeXnicCenter includes all of the standard syntax highlighting, bracket matching, and spell checking functions. To summarize, if you are a Windows user, TeXnicCenter is one of the best LaTeX editors available in 2021.
Some of the benefits of using TeXnicCenter
- TeXnicCenter includes an easy-to-use setup wizard.
- The interface is simple to use, including toolbars and menus.
- It is possible to customize tools.
- It comes equipped with syntax highlighting.
- This editor is UTF-8 compatible (Unicode Transformation Format).
- Matches the parentheses automatically.
- It is a free and open-source application.
- Compatible with Windows, Linux, and macOS.